Department of English

University of Toronto

Dancer, Thom

Thom DancerDancer T
Assistant Professor; Graduate Faculty; Undergraduate Instructor, University of Toronto St. George
UTSG Office Location:  Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street, Room 713
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Research and Teaching Interests: 20th and 21st century British and Anglophone literature; the contemporary novel; the history of literary criticism; literary theory and research methods; philosophy of science; philosophy and literature; pragmatism (philosophy); speculative philosophy; genre including the essay, novels, and comics.

My work examines the relationship between works of literature (and literary theory) and a wide range of philosophical, scientific, and critical theory that has interrogated some of our most taken for granted assumptions about the relations between humans and nonhumans, society and nature, and epistemology and ontology. My book, Critical Modesty, attempts to characterize and consolidate a particular style of thinking and disposition shared across these various projects, which assume that critics are part of the phenomenon they study and therefore that they should aim to think with texts rather than about them. This style, I suggest, finds a powerful home in works of contemporary fiction that use the resources of narrative form to imagine new ways of thinking, acting, and reading in a posthuman world. I ask us to see that contemporary novelists do not just represent critical modesty in their writing but are, in fact, among its most adept practitioners.


2013 “Literary History of the Contemporary.” Review of Modernist Futures: Innovation and Inheritance in the Contemporary Novel by David James, Contemporary Literature 54.3 (Fall 2013): 634-642.

2012 “Literary Merit, Authenticity, and the Contemporary Canon.” Review of Post-War British Women Novelists and the Canon by Nick Turner, NOVEL 45.4 (Winter 2012): 506-511. doi:10.1215/00295132-1723143

2012 “Toward a Modest Criticism: Ian McEwan's Saturday.” Special issue on “The Contemporary Novel: Imagining the Twenty-First Century” edited by Timothy Bewes. NOVEL 45.2 (Summer 2012): 202-220. doi:10.1215/00295132-1573940

2011 “Between Belief and Understanding: J.M. Coetzee and the Present of Reading.” minnesota review 77 (November 2011): 133-142. 

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